Riding to Success

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An HKUST student is capitalizing on her award-winning equestrian skills to succeed in the
university’s competitive mechanical engineering program.

Second-year HKUST MECH student Oi Man Leung is not one to rest on her laurels. Less than a week after representing Hong Kong at the 11th World University Equestrian Championship in Flyinge, Sweden, where she took 4th place in the jumping semi-finals on 2 July, she was making her mark in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Competing on 8 July in the Young Riders Class at the Concourse de Saut International, an international equestrian show-jumping event, Leung garnered two top awards, a Silver and a Gold, despite having to compete on an unfamiliar horse. “Being an athlete has taught me to persevere in tough situations and to never be afraid of challenges, however difficult they may be,” she explains.

It is this willingness to take on new challenges and persevere that led Leung, who has been riding since the age of 6, to the MECH program at HKUST. Although she had offers from top universities in the U.K., “UST is the best university for engineering in Hong Kong.” Studying at UST allows her to continue with her current training regime with her own horse, and MECH allows her to pursue her long-standing interest in cars and technology and put her facility for math and physics to good use.

To keep at the top of her sport, Leung rides 6 days a week for 3 hours a day. She admits that achieving a balance between training, competition, and study is tough, but believes that her riding skills, training experience, and “openness to learning and listening to different ideas” help her to meet any challenges that arise.

The future is certain to hold a few: “I am definitely targeting the Asian Games in the near future and hopefully the Olympics one day,” Leung says, “and I would like to continue with a Masters degree in engineering.”